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TSA says no new study of scanner health effects needed

November 20, 2011 |  8:00 am

TSA chief John Pistole is backing off on a promise to have an independent panel look into the health effects of the full-body scanners used to screen passengers at the nation’s airports.

Pistole told a congressional committee early this month that he was concerned that some travelers still fear they will be harmed by going through airport scanners that use the so-called backscatter technology, which relies on radiation to detect objects hidden under the clothes of passengers.

“We will conduct an independent study to address that,” he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

But last week Pistole changed his tune, saying the Transportation Security Administration recently received a draft report from the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security that confirms the conclusion of previous independent studies -- that the scanners are safe for all passengers.

For now, Pistole said another study is not needed. But, he told CNN last week, he will “work with Congress to see whether that addresses their concerns.” For good reason: Congress approves the TSA’s annual budget.


Ten years later, TSA screening still frustrates air travelers

TSA chief says airport screening tactics are changing

John Wayne Airport to get upgraded full-body scanners

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: A TSA official demonstrates how the full-body scanners are used at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times